Manila: More than 30,000 individuals who had earlier renounced their nationality in favour of another country, have applied to regain their Filipino citizenship under the country’s dual citizenship law.
According to Bureau of Immigrations (BI) chief Ricardo David Jr, about 30,362 Filipinos by birth who had taken citizenship in a second country, had applied with the immigration department to reacquire their Philippines nationality and assume dual citizenship.
Under a law passed during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Republic Act 9225 or the citizenship retention and reacquisition act of 2003, Philippines-born citizens who became naturalized citizens of other countries are deemed not to have lost their citizenship by taking the required oath of allegiance to the Philippine republic.
David said of the total number of dual citizens processed last year, 5,564 filed their petitions at the BI main office in Manila while the rest applied at the various Philippine consulates abroad. He said there were more applicants last year compared to 2011 when only 19,328 petitions were processed, of which 15,657 originated from the Philippine consulates.
David urged former Filipinos who wished to enjoy again their rights and privileges as Philippine citizens to avail of the benefits of the said law.
Immigrations legal officer Marc Anthony Antonio, who heads the agency’s task force on RA 9225, stressed that all natural-born Filipinos who lost their Philippine citizenship can avail of the benefits of the law.
Among the benefits of acquiring dual citizenship is exemption from the 60-40 per cent Filipino ownership limit concerning foreign business firms and properties.
Antonio surmised that since RA 9225 took effect in 2004, no less than 150,000 former Filipinos worldwide may have already availed the said law.
He said topping the list of applicants for dual citizenship are Americans followed by Britons and Canadians, most of whom filed their petitions at the Philippine consulates in Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Honolulu, Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto and London.
Antonio said those applying for dual citizenship need only to pay the required P3,000 (Dh269.39) processing fee and accomplish all the documentary requirements.
Among the reasons for the implementation of the Dual Citizenship Law was to bring into the country more investments by Filipinos who were successful in business abroad.